There’s no better time to be a copywriter than right now. But writing effective copy is no easy task, and figuring out the art and science of copywriting is key in building your portfolio. Today’s guest is Nicki Krawczyk, the President of Nicki K. Media and the creator of The Filthy Rich Writer, where she offers tips, tools, and training for new and aspiring copywriters. Nicki has curated her 15+ years of experience in copywriting to help others build successful careers. She sits down with host Robin Colucci to share these experiences along with some helpful tips along the way. Interested in learning more? Tune in to this episode and get copywriting tips from an expert!
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The Art And Science Of Copywriting With Nicki Krawczyk: Find Out Key Do’s And Don’ts For Writing Effective Copy
My guest in this episode got me thinking about how sometimes we might ask somebody or be thinking even about ourselves like, “Are you a good writer,” or thinking to myself, “Am I a good writer?” I think that there’s something interestingly problematic about asking that question is that there are so many genres and forms of writing. We can be good at one form and terrible at another. Maybe you’re great at writing essays and terrible at writing poetry. You’re great at writing stories but not so good with a non-fiction article.
One of the mysterious genres, especially to a lot of authors is copywriting because copywriting, for example, a copy on your website, a copy for a sales page on your website or copywriting for an email. All of these things are their own art form. They’re a lot different than writing a book. These elements are different from book writing, but copywriting is such an essential piece of being a successful author. It’s for that reason that I am supremely happy to introduce to you Nicki Krawczyk, who is a copywriter with more than fifteen years of experience writing for multi-billion-dollar companies, as well as solopreneurs and every size business in between.
She also coaches people to become professional copywriters and build thriving careers on their own via her website, FilthyRichwriter.com and her Comprehensive Copywriting Academy. For Nicki, the definition of being filthy rich means having a job you love, being good at what you do and making great money doing it. We unpack a lot of myths around copywriting, some of the copywriting pitfalls or difficulties that you might encounter as you’re trying to get your messaging right and even some pretty cool solutions. I hope that you will find this interview as exciting and informative as I did. Enjoy.
Nicki, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me, Robin.
I’m so excited to have you here with us and to share some of your wisdom because I know that copywriting is an art form in itself. It’s something that can be so challenging even for authors and good writers because it’s its own thing. It’s something that every author or anyone with a brand needs to have that skill. Before we get into what they should do, I’d love to hear a bit of your story and what led you to become this copywriting expert.
A million years ago, when I was in high school, my dad was a marketing director. He’s retired now. He would bring home extra work for me to do and would give me feedback and all that thing. I had an opportunity to do copywriting very or before I even realized that it was copywriting. I went to college and majored in PR. I quickly discovered I did not like PR. It’s great for some people, not great for me. I worked at a health club doing their events and all that stuff but the whole time thinking, “This isn’t right for me. It’s fun but it’s not the thing. It’s not what I should be doing.”
I quit working at the health club and was teaching spinning and aqua aerobics to pay the bills, but not happy because it wasn’t what I wanted to do. My mom, the other half of the equation, sent me a book that was called The Six-Figure Writer. Thank goodness for parents because this was before Amazon was a real thing. She went to the store. She picked it up. She mailed it out. The book itself had some questionable advice. There were things like, “You need a fax machine in your home office. You absolutely need it. You need a dedicated line for business,” and all the stuff.
What it did was remind me that copywriting was an option and I thought, “I did like that. I can do that.” A few years ago, I jumped in and started trying to land clients and all that thing. At the beginning of my career, I had some successes. I wouldn’t call them failures, but plenty of missteps but I have built a fantastic career. Now, I also teach people to build their own copywriting careers.
I’m hearing at least three stages here of getting started. You’ve written copy for billion-dollar companies as I understand it. I guess when you started out, it probably wasn’t billion-dollar companies. Were you writing for solopreneurs or who were you writing for when you started out?
The very first clients that I have because I had just left the health club and I was thinking, “What kind of businesses do I have special insight to?” It is one of the things that we teach our students. A good place to start at least. I thought, “I know how health clubs operate. I know what they have to do to make sales. I know how that process goes.” The first people that I pitched and now we teach our students to pitch via email, but back then, I had postcards printed up and letters printed up. I went to the library and got addresses.
The first couple of clients I pitched were health clubs and got those clients. I got some pieces for my portfolio and started branching out. I’ve had the extreme pleasure to write for multi-billion-dollar companies, lots of names. Also, at the same time writing for solopreneurs and every size business in between. It’s been a lot of fun.
Do you notice any key differences between writing for a solopreneur and writing for a billion-dollar business?
I think that solopreneurs tend to be more open to trying new tactics. The bigger the company, the more set they are in the way things have always been done. We put up this landing page and then we send out this email funnel. Whereas a solopreneur, you can sit down and go, “I have another client that’s doing this and yeah, they are in a different industry, but this could work well for you in this way.” Big companies move so much slower because there are so many levels of approvals.
You have to send a fax to get that.
When I started my business, I had a fax machine and now who knows where it is. Can you imagine how much was a fax machine many years ago?
That is so interesting because I’ve helped another gentlemen write a book called Go Tech, Or Go Extinct. It was about how big business and they have this, “This is how we’ve always done it.” I would imagine you’ve observed some things around the outcomes of these companies that aren’t willing to try something new. Can you say anything without revealing anyone specific?
Because they’re so much slower to try new things, things that are working for solopreneurs now, bigger corporations will try later and they won’t work because they’re not fresh anymore. They’re so much more likely to go, “I saw this technique.” 6 months, 1, 2 years later, by the time it’s finally gotten to the point where they can put it out, it’s not fresh anymore and nobody cares.
Not only that, they might be sick of the technique or everyone’s clued into it and they know. They’re like, “That’s that hook that everyone’s been using for the last year and a half. We’re over it.”
You can’t do gimmicks. Remember several years ago when someone first sent out the “Oops” email. The subject line is, “Oops, we made a mistake.” People opened it up like crazy because they wanted to know what the mistake was. Often too, there would be a discount code in there like, “Oops, we sent you the wrong email. Here’s 10% off to make up for it.”
Probably the first one was a genuine mistake, but then companies started going, “That’s a great idea.” There was a time where there were “Oops” emails like crazy. None of them were actual mistakes. They were just trying to capitalize on this. What started out as something useful and fresh very quickly became a gimmick that annoyed everybody.
That’s even worse because then they know you’re lying, which is bad.
If your target audience can’t trust you, then you’ve lost a major piece of the game, is a way to put it.
I would gather that your advice to clients now, regardless of the size of the business, part of that advice might be don’t use gimmicks.The bigger the company, the more set they are in the way things have always been done. Click To Tweet
Never. It’s not worth it. The gimmick is designed to get you to an end goal. Forget about the gimmick and what is this end goal we want to reach? What are we trying to do? What is the most genuine way to do it? What’s going to resonate with your target audience? It’s what your target audience cares about most that matters most.
Looking inside of your honest, truthful and authentic messaging. Find something that will connect with that target audience in an authentic way. It is so damaging. I got an email and I’d love your critique on this. I won’t mention names, but they tend to target Forbes Business Council members. It’s the third person from the same company who’s like, “We saw your articles on Forbes. We thought we could help you get more exposure by using us as your PR firm,” which I looked at the first time, I said, “No.” I told them no because I saw what they were doing and I didn’t find it that impressive. Two different people from that same organization sent me an identical email. “Copywriter lady, have fun.”
That’s one of the biggest mistakes that you see copywriters or freelancers of any kind do. To be clear, we teach our students to be copywriters if they want to be on staff, work for an in-house agency or if they want to be freelance. We also make sure everybody knows how to land freelance clients because extra money is nice. That’s one of the biggest mistakes that anybody who’s doing any kind of pitching makes is, first of all, they get lazy with it. They have a template and they send that same template out to everybody. Who wants to work with a service provider that’s lazy?
Especially with PR.
You want my business, but you’re not going to take the time to research me. That’s a big point. When people hear pitching, they are thinking exactly like those mass pitchers and going, “Those don’t work. I hate it when I get them.” The way that we teach is, first of all, you do your research. If you want to earn this client’s business, you need to know about their company. Do your research and find things you genuinely like about this company that you connect with.
Part two, so many pitches are about the pitcher, not the pitchee or the service provider who is saying, “Here’s what we want. I’m intruding into your inbox and I’m telling you what I want from you.” Nobody wants that. That’s crazy. The funny thing is this is what the vast majority of people do. Instead, we teach our students to do it is we make it all about value-based. You come into their inbox, you’ve done your research and you know who the right person to reach out to is.
You come in and you tell them a couple of things you like about the business and genuine. You’re not blowing smoke or anything like this because you’ve done your research. You come in and you say, “I have this idea for XYZ. It could benefit your business in this way. I’d love to talk to you about it. Let me know if you have some time next week.” It’s very low pressure, peeling out any of the sales and it’s not about the person sending the email. It’s about the person receiving the email.
I’ll read those emails a lot more. I’m not going to say all day long. The fact that after I told the person no, then they sent me the email again. Now, I’m angry. I’m not like, “No, thank you.”
It’s further demonstration that this company does not have their act together. They have three different people pitching the same person. That’s crazy.
The last thing anybody wants is their name associated with a publicist who does that to a station manager who says, “No, thank you. I’m not interested in this guest.” Months later, it’s like, “We have this guest we think would be perfect for you.”
That’s the part of the thing about hiring service providers. Whether it’s an agency or a single person, you have to make sure you’re getting someone who understands what you do and represents you well in whatever service they’re providing.
Let’s talk about when did you make the decision to go from just offering copywriting services to teaching others to start their own copywriting?
It was about a decade ago. My team figured out that 2022 will be the ten-year anniversary. The way it started was at the time I was on staff at a company and they had started a new website. It became very clear and quickly that they were going to need a ton of copy and that one copywriter couldn’t even begin to do it. It was a 3, 4 or 5 person job just to generate enough copy for this website. They said, “You need to create a copy team.” I said, “Super. I can do this. Thank you for the opportunity. How much time do I have?” I poached a couple of writers from the editorial team and I hired a couple of junior copywriters. It’s very green but has lots of talent.
What I did was we would have a learning session once a day. We’d sit down and talk about the principles. I would have them bring in examples, we’d discussed the examples, what made it effective or what didn’t make it effective. Over the course of several weeks, we went through all the principles of copywriting and how they get fleshed out. Because they had to write copy, they got the opportunity to practice it and then they would get feedback from me. Once I got them to the point that they were up and chugging along, I thought, “I feel like more people would benefit from this.”
The funny and crazy thing about copywriting is that you can’t major in it in any college or university that I’m aware of, which is crazy because it is a full career. You can take a class in it or maybe in your advertising classes, there’ll be a segment about it but there’s so much more to it than just a bit. I put together what I would have wanted when I got started. The fundamentals of how to write copy and then the more advanced techniques and opportunities to practice it. How to build your portfolio site and how to build experience, land your first clients, parlay that into regular clients and all that thing. That’s what I put together.
You were saying that it had never occurred to me before that you could major in copywriting but it’s so needed right now. One of the sayings that people hear me say, especially those close to me and I say it fairly frequently, is like, “There has never been a better time to be a writer,” because everyone needs content. Even if you own a hardware store, you need content online. You can’t not be online and you better be saying something.
You and I know as business owners that messaging is the most important thing. You could have the most amazing product and super great pictures or service, but if you can’t nail the messaging, nobody’s going to buy it. You could have a white page and just black text on that white page. If the copy is good, people will buy it like crazy. I love that you say that because that’s the same thing I tell our students, “There has never been a better time to be a copywriter.”
Quite frankly, it continues being good because businesses are starting up like crazy, but businesses are also educated now. It used to be if you started a business, you were in your own little world. Now, with the web, not that the web is a new invention, there’s more and more education out there about marketing and business tactics. More and more companies are understanding, “I need to focus on my messaging. I need a professional who is an expert in that messaging.” It’s fantastic.
That’s where I was just going to go to next and I’ve found this in my own company. Our business is writing for people or coaching people to write. I know for a fact, I cannot describe my business as well as a good copywriter. Say a bit about that because I think this is a mistake that I made for many years thinking, “Nobody knows my business better than me.” That’s the problem.
The hardest person to write copy for is yourself and that’s true for any entrepreneur and for copywriters as well. When we’re taking our students through and they’re writing their portfolio sites, they’re going, “Why is this so hard?” It’s worked for this client and they loved it. I’m sitting down to write about myself and I can’t do it. It is because you’re so close to it. You’re talking about it in your head all day long, especially when it’s business or a major project or something like that. You want it to be as good as possible.
When you’re that close to it, it’s hard to come up with something fresh or a message that nails everything that you want to say, “Can it be done?” Absolutely. You have to be able to give yourself some time away from it before you can come back. As I was saying, copywriting is an entire career. It’s another reason why it blows my mind. I’m grateful that you can’t major in it. It was wonderful for my business. There’s a lot that goes into it. I sometimes think too, especially people who are talented writers who think, “I can write a copy.” With that element of training, heck yeah, but without it, you don’t know how to go about doing it.
I’m going to push back even on the training because something I noticed consistently is that I would never say things about myself that are as nice as what a copywriter would say.
I feel like we need to delve into this a bit further.
I don’t brag enough. My mother is the most humble person I’ve ever met. She’s accomplished unbelievable things and you would have to interrogate her for hours to get her to tell you all the amazing things she’s done because she’d never come up with it on her own. I’m not that bad, but even when I read what a copywriter writes on my behalf, I’m like, “That’s true.”If your target audience can't trust you, you've lost a major piece of the game. Click To Tweet
“That person sounds great.”
It would never have occurred to me to share that. Do you run into that a lot with your owners?
We tend to bury the lead. No one is rewarded for “bragging” about themselves. If you started a conversation with, “I’m so-and-so. I have a seven-figure business. I have done this and I’ve helped this many.” Nobody would do that but when it comes to writing the copy for your website or LinkedIn bio or something like that or in a conversation, people will take the time to get to know you. They’ve got a couple of minutes. Maybe it will somehow come out that you say it.
When people want to know who you are, what makes you credible and why they should listen to you or believe you or purchase from you versus anyone else, they need those key details. They need that expertise to be highlighted. To your point, a copywriter has that objectivity to say, “You’re a very nice person and I know that you’re very humble. We’re going to write it in a way that doesn’t sound like bragging but we are going to highlight all of the amazing things that you have done and people will know about it.”
It’s fun to read when you’ve allowed someone else to write on your behalf. The other thing I’ve noticed is things that the copywriter can see that would stand out for the prospect, I don’t think the owner can always see that’s the thing that’s going to get their attention. Have you run into that as well?
You see this, especially when copywriters are working with solopreneurs or single individuals. There’s often a lot in their backstory that informs what makes them so good at what they do or what makes them an expert or qualified to write this book. What makes them qualified to create this course or that kind of thing. Sometimes people will gloss over their backstory, “This is the course I’ve created now.” How did you get here? Often, those elements and the background, “What challenge did you have?” “I struggled with that and then I realized this and then I created a course,” and all that thing. It’s that struggle that makes people connect with you. Those elements of the story.
Talk about writing books, fiction is a bit different from non-fiction but the hero’s journey. Having to deal with that conflict and overcoming it. First of all, everyone loves a story. If it’s a story that they can relate to because they have that same issue or same challenge or something like that, it’s going to make people trust you even more and want to know more about your solution. I think a lot of us forget about that know, like and trust factor. A big part of that comes from sharing our stories now, not sharing every single element of our story. You want to keep that message focused, “I was born on a Saturday.”
I want to add to what you’re saying there because the other thing that I think it does especially when you’re willing to share about some of the challenges you faced and how you overcame them is it not only makes you relatable to the reader but in a lot of cases, your reader might be having a similar struggle. What it does is it shows the reader, “If they can do it, then maybe I can do it.” If you’re trying to enroll someone in a program that you’re leading to help them solve that very problem, the fact that you have overcome that same problem is incredibly enrolling. It’s inspiring.
Think about it this way. I spend a lot of time on Instagram, way more than I should. I definitely have been buying too many products on Instagram, but when you scroll through and you see this fabulous face cream and you see it’s on a 25-year-old girl who looks fantastic, but she is 25. How much work does she have to do? It’s like, “Good for you. You don’t need any. They could smear mayonnaise on your face and you’d look great.”
Whereas, when you see a before and after, I know this sounds very shallow, but for illustrative purposes, “This person looked this way before and then after using it looked this way.” It’s that same thing when you’re telling your story. “This is the challenge I had before then I did this system, product, service or whatever that I’m telling you about. This is my life now.” It gives people hope. They connect with you before the story and it gives them hope that you can help them in the same way that you helped yourself.
When you put someone through your copywriting training, do they then start their own copywriting business or do you ever grab a couple and throw them on your team or what are you doing?
For the most part, most of our students go on and create either freelance businesses, whether that’s full-time or part-time or they land on-staff positions. We have farmed out work periodically to some of our students but for the most part, they certainly don’t need us because there are so many potential clients out there.
So many of us are used to looking at the world through a keyhole like, “There are only this many companies on my block. There are only this many companies in my city.” When you start to think, first of all, those are just the companies that you see and this company that you see in your city, but you could write for anyone. Also, think about the companies that are online that you’re not seeing. We have a yearly event called Pitch-a-palooza, which is a silly name, admittedly.
It’s a free event for our students. We do it at the beginning of the year to get people amped up and excited and overcome those self-doubts that inevitably creep up. One of the things that we have them do is, “Make a list of 50 potential clients.” They’ll go, “Fifty?” We go through, “Here’s where you’re going to start. You’re going to go down these.” Always every single time, there’s the shock of 50. I say, “It’s going to happen faster than you think.” If you will finish that list and within an hour, we have people posting in our student-only Facebook group going, “I hit 50 and then I couldn’t stop going. This is 150.” There’s so much opportunity out there.
Once they make a list, do you have them pitch during the Pitch-a-palooza?
We do. That’s part of the challenge to send out their first couple of pitches. I will say I’m very fortunate because our student-only Facebook group is an amazing group of people. We have student coaches in there and I’m in there, but fantastic, supportive people and cheering each other on. It can always help to like, “We’re all going to do this together.” That little excitement at the beginning of the year is a great way to start.
I think it’s fantastic because I happen to know the number one reason when somebody comes to me and I send them away. I used to send them away, now I put them in a lower budget booklet writing masterclass so that they can get an authority piece without committing $40,000 or more to get a full-length book. The point of this is though, the reason I would send people away is because they would be fairly new at what they were doing.
They weren’t pitching clients. They weren’t getting clients. I’d say, “Writing a book is not magically going to put prospects in your inbox and clients in your coffers or whatever it doesn’t do that.” I love this because I’ve always felt that when those people reach out, what’s happening is they’re trying to avoid exactly what you’re threatening to the ego and scary and stuff like that.
It’s scary stuff. You’re sending an email, but we build stuff up. It’s just an email. If you write it right, it’s a very nice email. You’re essentially showing up at somebody’s door with a gift and being like, “That’s for you.” If you want to chat, you can, if not, no big deal. It’s just an email, it’s not a big deal but people build it up. It’s getting out of our comfort zones. All of the best things in life are outside of our comfort zones, but you have to get outside of your comfort zone to get all those best things in life.
When they’re in this Pitch-a-palooza, you have to make a list and they start sending emails. Do they ever close while you’re at the end?
It’s exciting. It’s a couple of weeks and it’s all free for our students, but we start by having them come up with their USP, their unique selling point because there are other copywriters out there in the world. You need to tell people why they should hire you and what elements of your background. Most of our students don’t have any marketing background or copywriting background, but elements of your background make you who you are and make you a distinctive copywriter. That’s one of the things that we talk about. Then they go through and they come up with their list and they pitch in. We do have students that land their first clients in the Pitch-a-palooza timeframe. It’s cool.
That’s wonderful because I think once you get a few of those under your belt, sales goes from being scary to almost addictive. It’s fun to have a conversation with someone and discover that there is a fit and be so clear that you can help them. It feels good and it’s fun.
Two, when you start to train your brain back to scrolling through Instagram, when you go from, “What a weird ad,” to, “This is an opportunity. That is a super weird ad. I’m going to reach out to people because I know that they have the budget to be running ads on Instagram. Likely they also have a budget to hire someone to fix those ads for them or just the writing of the ads.” There are so many opportunities out there.
You said it’s not just the writing of the ads. Do you also train people on that other aspect of how to construct a good Facebook ad? I’m curious about that.All of the best things in life are outside of our comfort zones, but you have to get outside of your comfort zone to get all those best things in life. Click To Tweet
We teach them the foundations and then advanced techniques, but we do have additional courses. We have our foundations and it’s building us for many years. Every time I find something to like, “We should have a course on that.” We have fifteen plus additional courses. One of them is Facebook ads. The fundamental principles are the same, but how you execute in different mediums.
Facebook ad is going to be different. A landing page is going to be different from a brochure or something like that. There are so many. I say to people, “You probably have a copy within a three feet radius of you.” It’s packaging on something or it’s the back cover copy of a book or something like that. You guarantee you have a copy within a three-foot radius. There’s so much out there.
By the way, a back cover book copy is a specific skillset, just in case you ever want to do a course on that.
I don’t want to brag here, but I have done some back cover copy myself for Harlequin. If you happened to have read a couple of books by the name of The Firefighter’s Secret Baby and Quarterback Daddy, perhaps. That was one of my most fun products. I kept doing it for way longer than I should have because it wasn’t an especially lucrative project, but it was so much fun.
It’s so funny. If you look at it and you break it down, a lot of these things are template-based. The content is so unique that unless what you’re looking for it, you’d never know.
Getting into that voice and getting into that was so much fun.
Putting them in with an intriguing image that makes them want more that’s got to be your first line. It’s interesting. One of the things I’ve noticed, especially if you look at old magazines. It can be so interesting to see how the language of copywriting changes over time. Some of the languages, if you go back and read even an ad from the 1950s or 1940s and how antiquated the content is. How it’s about context changing. It’s about language changing. I would be curious to hear your take on that evolutionary line that never really ends.
It’s interesting because you go back and you look at some of these ads and they’re full pages of copy, but a lot of the techniques. You see them in there. The drawing people in and then changing their minds thing. A famous one in terms of a big, long page full of copy and I really should memorize the exact headline, but it’s something like, “They laughed when I said I would play the piano, but then I sat down to play dot, dot, dot.” That’s not quite it, but it’s something very similar to that.
It’s making it aspirational and relatable. It’s hooking them in and it’s also beginning a story. The elements of and I hate using the word persuasion because I think people go, “Screech, salesy and pushy.” Persuasion is not a bad thing. Copy is about connecting a target audience who has a want or a need with the company or the organization that has the solution to that want or need.
We make that connection by writing copy that the target audience relates to. That they read and go, “That’s the solution. That’s what I need. They get me.” That’s what persuasion comes down to is explaining to someone what they’re going to get out of something. These longer ads, first of all, people read more, sadly. They were reading newspapers, books and novels.
They weren’t using smartphones, laptops and all the other things that make us do other things besides reading.
The attention spans were different, which is not to say now that you can’t write longer copy because you absolutely can. Some of the emails that I will write for clients or that we’ll write for our business, but the messaging you can’t veer off and you can’t have fluff in there. You can’t have a messaging that doesn’t belong there. We say to our students, we talk about the fact that every word has to have a purpose.
I should be able to point to a word and say, “Why did you choose that word? It doesn’t need to be there.” The answer needs to be yes. Everything has to be there. It has to be essential to the message. You can still write longer copy, but you’re right in the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s and even into the ‘60s, it was longer. You would see the Volkswagen Beetle would be a headline and there’d be a good couple of paragraphs of copy which if anybody is interested, they should look those up. The techniques were turning advertising on its head a bit.
I was going to say, that’s a legendary ad, as I recall. That was a real game-changer.
There’s a full campaign of being hyper honest in a lot of ways. Because it broke through a mold, it caught people’s attention and it inspired them to purchase.
That is something too because as you said if it’s just what they expect and what they’ve seen a thousand times or a million times, it’s not going to get their attention so much as ad copy that breaks the mold. This is a ritual that we have in this country every year where some of the biggest corporations in the world try to come up with a 32nd ad that’s going to get everyone’s attention at the Super Bowl.
Which is a whole other because there are so many ads that you go, “I saw that ad. That was so funny.” Who was that ad for? I don’t know. You spent millions and nobody has any idea that it was your ad. It’s fascinating.
It doesn’t sound like that’s a strategy that you would teach.
Nobody remembers who the client is, “Why on earth should the client pay you?” That’s a brand play that doesn’t even work. There’s a lot of cachets and having a Super Bowl ad and a lot of like, “Be as weird. Be as funny. Be as crazy as possible.” There are certainly some great ones where you do remember who the advertiser is, but there are plenty where you have no idea.
I think more and more where you have no idea.
It’s very strange.
Wouldn’t everybody wish they could afford a $30 million Super Bowl ad? I think that for most businesses, it’s more about that intimate communication where you have the attention of the reader and they’re not just waiting for it to be over so the game will start again.
Don’t get me wrong, TV advertising is great, but when you’re advertising to the Super Bowl, you are advertising to a huge, diverse group of people and so few of them are in your target audience now. Beer commercials, maybe there’s more. You do advertise to people of all ages over the age of 21. Although probably not. How many 86-year-olds drink Coors or drink it regularly enough? You’re missing that element of being able to target who’s in your target audience. Who cares about what you have to offer? The element of not being able to cater a message and 30 seconds is also very short.
If you’re going to catch their attention, it’s a fantastic challenge. It’s in the same way that a banner ad is a fantastic challenge. When you’re interacting with people digitally and say, for example, they see a banner and it does catch their attention. They click through and then you have an opportunity to engage with them more with a landing page or with an email or something like that, even with a brochure in a store. If you’re picking up a brochure, you’re probably in that store and you can talk to them and there are different conversational and communicational opportunities that you miss out on when you do that mass advertising.
This is probably why you have so many courses because it sounds like there’s a bit different approach depending on the medium that you’re writing for. If you’re writing for a banner ad versus email versus a banner ad that’s targeted towards executives versus a banner ad targeted towards students and the same for the email. You’re going to be writing things differently depending on the medium and the audience is what I’m hearing.
In the foundation’s course, we have a couple of separate courses that are how the medium affects the message and how the audience affects the message. “A-plus. Good job.”There is so much more need out there than skilled copywriters to fill it. Click To Tweet
There are so many considerations that go into it and I think people think, “Copywriting, I have to come up with a clever line or a funny line and that will do it.” It’s funny because there are few clients that are looking for a clever line or a fun line. It’s such a small subset of the work. There are some lines on my portfolio that I still find that funny all these years later. It’s not that many that need to be funny or clever or that kind of thing.
It’s focusing on all of the elements that come together. I liken it to a word puzzle because you have an objective. You’re trying to meet a puzzle you’re trying to solve and you have these different elements that you have to somehow get to work together. In the end, it works and it’s fantastic. There is an element of play to it. It’s both strategy and creativity, which I think is part of what makes it such a fun thing to do for a living.
It’s the same with book writing by the way. Strategy, creativity and execution. I love that. We are very close to the end of our conversation. We’ve covered so much, too. Probably a lot of people are going to have to read to this a couple of times to get all the nuggets that you have so graciously laid before us. Thank you so much.
It’s my pleasure.
I’m going to finish with my favorite last question which is, what should I have asked you or would you have wished I asked you that I did not?
I don’t know if there’s a wish, but I think because you and I both talked to people who are writing books or dreaming of writing books and I think a lot of people have always had that dream whether that’s a career they went into or not. I think a lot of us, if not all of us grew up thinking that writers can’t make any money. It’s pervasive. Also, there’s the idea that if writers do make money, there’s something wrong. All of the writers should be making money. Unfortunately, not all of them are but it’s not true. Unfortunately, journalists certainly don’t make as much as they should.
Your average novelist, unless they’re JK Rowling or Stephen King, fantastic spread that around. Your average blog writer, if they’re not selling courses and that kind of thing, they’re not making much money, but copywriters can. You still get that wonderful, fulfilling element of using your talent and building skills. Quite frankly, too, getting your words out there in the world. You know what a kick it is to see your words, something that you wrote published.
Or that I coach someone to write. Do you want to hear something funny going back to my mom? God bless her. I was always a writer. I was always prone towards writing. When I was thinking about what I was going to major in college, my mother said, “Maybe you should major in Journalism. That way you could get paid to write.”
Otherwise, you do it for free.
This is the mid-‘80s. There is this perception that you can’t earn a great living as a writer. It isn’t true. Like we were saying before, it’s never been a better time, there’s never been more need and fewer people who have this skill because t’s not showing up in most education.
There’s massively more need than there are people to fill it. Every once in a while, on one of our Facebook or Instagram ads, people are going, “If people are taking your course, aren’t we going to flood the market?” That is so adorable that you think that our course is going to flood the market. We could be 100 times as big as we are working with 100 times as many students every day and we wouldn’t even come close to flooding the market.
That’s not because we don’t work with a lot of students. We do, but there are so much more needs out there than skilled copywriters to fill it. Not people who one day decide they’re going to be a copywriter and then just put up a website because there are, unfortunately, some people who try that and that does not end well. It’s skilled copywriters.
They’ll publish one and now they’re a book coach.
Best of luck to you. It’s the same people who say, “Copywriting is hard to get into. I tried it.” “How did you learn copy?” “I was always a good writer.” “How did you get clients?” “I started telling people.” If you don’t know how to write copy and you don’t have a system for finding clients, then it’s hard to get into.
If only your friends know you’re a copywriter.
Unless they have a whole lot of need for copywriting, it’s going to be an issue.
What a great question to wrap up with. I hope that for any aspiring writers who are reading, you’re getting at least some ideas of how you can not only earn a living as a writer, but earn a really great living as a writer. As you said, it gets to share your gifts. One of the things I love about my work is there’s a lot of books in the world that I’ve helped create, but you would only know that if you read the acknowledgments page. I get a secret little thrill about that.
If you only knew.
I feel like the world’s secret Santa because we help people write world-changing books that make the world better for everyone. I would imagine you might feel the same way of writing copy for people out there trying to improve the lives of others.
Sometimes the want or the need is they need a new minivan and a minivan with a keyless entry or whatever. If that’s what they need, that’s what they need. Sometimes it’s for a couple that’s dealing with fertility issues and you write a website for them that makes them feel heard, seen and supported. Making that connection is a very gratifying thing and helping a target audience get to what they want. As I said, sometimes it’s a little transformation, sometimes it’s big. Sometimes you change somebody’s life and you get to be a part of that.
That is a great note to end on. Nicki, thank you so much once again for being with us.
Thank you so much. This is a genuine pleasure.
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About Nicki Krawczyk
Nicki Krawczyk is a copywriter with 15+ years of experience, writing for multi-billion-dollar companies, solopreneurs, and every size business in between. She also coaches people to become professional copywriters and build thriving careers of their own via her website, www.FilthyRichWriter.com, and her Comprehensive Copywriting Academy. For her, being “filthy rich” means having a job you love, being good at what you do, and making great money doing it.